Sculpt OS release 22.04 Apr 28, 2022

Sculpt OS version 22.04 introduces the concept of service-level sandboxing and features completely new drivers for wireless, graphics, and USB.

On the user-visible surface, the new version of Sculpt OS looks and feels familiar to users of the previous version. Under the hood, however, at the nitty-gritty hardware-support level, it features completely revamped device drivers for Intel wireless, Intel graphics, and USB.

In a major surgery, the new drivers got transplanted from the Linux kernel version 5.14.21 using Genode's unique DDE approach. In contrast to Linux where the drivers are part of the almighty operating-system kernel, Sculpt OS hosts each of the drivers in a dedicated sandbox as plain user-level component. So Sculpt users can enjoy the broad hardware support of up-to-date Linux drivers without ultimately trusting those staggeringly complex driver stacks.

Closely related, the support of hardware-accelerated graphics that we introduced with the previous version 21.10 received substantial optimization and stabilization. With the new version, Sculpt users can not only run native OpenGL applications but can even go as far as using hardware-accelerated graphics via guest operating systems hosted within VirtualBox on top of Sculpt.

Being a component-based operating system following the principle of least privilege, Sculpt OS gives users ultimate control over the system resources exposed to each component. The new version equips the user with additional means to exercise control over the deployed software: A new optional component called black hole can now be used as placeholder for various system resources when deploying an application. For example, a virtual machine can be shielded from the network by connecting its network traffic to the black hole. This also works for audio, video capturing, USB, and other commonly used system resources. As this mechanism works at the level of individual services, the documentation refers to it as service-level sandboxing, resembling a poster-child for the natural power of capability-based security.

Sculpt OS 22.04 is available as ready-to-use system image at the Sculpt download page and is accompanied with updated documentation.